Red Squirrel Walk at Plas Newydd.
It was another of those bright Autumn mornings when dawn promises much and delivers so beautifully around Tyddyn Sydney Bach. We had a flash of inspiration! Perfect day to go on the Red Squirrel Walk at Plas Newydd, just outside Llanfair PG.
Clad in warm clothing and sensible walking shoes, we joined up with the Ranger at Plas Newydd. Knowledgeable Rangers lead the guided tours to show the Red Squirrel Woodland areas so that hopefully we could see red squirrels. As we set off with the rest of the party, the weather turned cold and drizzly. We did not feel optimistic that we would see very much. Walking softly, we passed a couple of the squirrel feeding stations where sunflower seeds had been placed earlier to attract the squirrels. Quietly, we watched and listened carefully as we scanned the canopy of pine trees. But there was no sign of squirrels.
During the walk, the Ranger answered our questions, but as we stopped to look around the first site, the Ranger started explaining about the Red Squirrel Re-introduction Programme. There have always been red squirrels at Plas Newydd, and on Anglesey, but they have been in serious decline since the 1990s. In October 2008, six red squirrels were re-introduced to the woodland at Plas Newydd and have spread around the area. Red squirrels have two litters of three to four kittens a year but very few make it to adulthood. Their lifespan is usually three years but can live up to six years. Red squirrels can now be seen in several places on Anglesey. However, red squirrels have been spotted on the Mainland, at Treborth Botanical Gardens and here at Tyddyn Sydney.
We stopped in a clearing where there were some ferns and bracken beside the sunflower topped tree stumps where the sharp-eyed ranger spotted a glimpse of a red squirrel tail.
We watched quietly, enthralled by the possibility of seeing a red squirrel. A slight movement and we just caught the eye of a red squirrel just peeping through the undergrowth as he picked up a sunflower seed.
Gently and quietly moving our position, it was possible to watch the red squirrel in his full glory, as he calmly ate his mid-morning snack. At that moment I really wished I had brought my binoculars. He was so beautiful, cute and animated that you could not help but fall in love with him. He suddenly bounced away in a flurry, clambering quickly up a nearby tree. All we could see of him was a tantalising glimpse of his bushy tail.
We quietly left him to his morning and continued on the trail to look for more red squirrels. There had been a choice of a short or long walk. We had chosen the short walk through the woodland. We resolved to do the long walk through the Arboretum next time. I can’t wait!